NEWTON -- It’s been a season-long youth movement on the Newton girls track team in 2013.
The youngsters paid off in dividends though Friday night, as Newton took home its track sectional at home, winning the event over Teutopolis.
Already crowned the Little Illini Conference champions, this fulfilled coach Jackie Schackmann’s team goals for the year.
“The girls, we’ve always sat them down at the beginning of the season and have them set goals,” she said. “Team goals are usually win conference and win sectionals. I’m very proud of them. The underclassmen stepped up and were huge.”
The Eagles won five sectional event championships on their way to 135 points. Teutopolis finished second with 125, Neoga took third with 72, Cumberland had 48 and finished fifth, St. Anthony came in sixth with 33.5, CHBC finished 10th with 14 tied with St. Elmo, and Altamont took 12th with 13.50.
Newton started off the day with a clean sweep of the 100-meter dash, with freshman Taylor Johnson (12.98) and sophomore Hannah Litzleman (13.01) both qualifying for state.
Freshman McKendra Barthelme took the 100-meter hurdles in 15.74, with St. Anthony’s Kassy Dammerman also qualifying for state with a time of 16.37.
Litzelman also qualified individually in the 200-meter dash, finishing second in 26.90. Neoga’s Courtney Croy won the event in 26.40 and qualified for state.
Despite not finishing in the top two, Barthelme also qualified via time in the 300-meter hurdles. Her third-place finish (48.23) was behind Teutopolis’ Molly Higgs winning time of 47.46, earning a state qualification.
The Eagles also won the 4x100-meter relay (51.95) and 4x200-meter relay (1:50.38), featuring both Litzelman and Johnson. The Eagles earned their last state qualifications in discus with Cassidy Probst (97-08), Tara Wirth in the shot put (34-03) and Barthelme in the long jump (17-04.50) and triple jump (33-06).
“We had injuries off and on. We had a couple big meets we probably could have won. It’s great to have these bunch of kids, and you try to teach them and work with them,” Schackmann said. “This is a great bunch of kids.”